After 636 days, the Vikings on Sunday finally will have another regular-season home game with fans. And they want to make the most of it.
When the Vikings host the Seattle Seahawks, it will be their first regular-season game with fans at U.S. Bank Stadium since they faced Chicago on Dec. 29, 2019. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no tickets were sold last season.
With that in mind, the Vikings announced on Wednesday a number of special events for fans surrounding the game. They include a free pre-game concert outside the stadium with country music star Dustin Lynch, a halftime performance inside the stadium with the Minnesota Orchestra and fan giveaways.
“Our number one focus as an organization from a business standpoint this offseason has been to safely welcome Vikings fans back to U.S. Bank Stadium for the 2021 season,” Vikings Chief Operating Officer Andrew Miller said in a statement. “We want their return to be special, so we are treating Sunday like a grand reopening of the stadium and have a number of exciting elements in place to make it a memorable experience.”
It’s the sixth season for the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016. Minnesota did have fans at two preseason games last month.
The Vikings are encouraging fans to be in their seats by 3 p.m. for the 3:25 p.m. kickoffs. They also are being encouraged to arrive much earlier than that for pre-game events.
Here’s a look at some of the events planned for Sunday:
–Gates will open at 10 a.m. for a free Kickoff Rally in the Commons Park adjacent to U.S. Bank Stadium. The opening act will be The Pork Tornadoes at 11:30 a.m. followed by Lynch at 1 p.m. Capacity inside the Commons will be limited to 7,500 but fans also can watch from outside the gates.
–Fans will have an opportunity on the Commons before the game in the Chuck for Charity to get three throws of a football into a target for a $5 donation to the Minnesota Vikings Foundation. A completed pass will result in getting an autographed Vikings item.
–Each fan entering U.S. Bank Stadium will receive a Vikings car flag courtesy of U.S. Bank. Other items will be handed out during the game. And there will be a new Split the Pot raffle program for which tickets can be purchased.
–The Vikings will have a “Showtime” introduction 15 minutes before kickoff. While pyrotechnics remain banned in 2021 by the NFL, the introduction of the team will include videos and special effects. Notable former Vikings players will be involved in the introduction.
–The national anthem will be performed by a quintet of Minnesota Orchestra brass players.
–At halftime, the Minnesota Orchestra will perform “Symphony of the North.” It’s a nod to the Minnesota Orchestra also having performed at halftime of the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium, against Green Bay on Sept. 18, 2016.